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Nadal Sets Up U.S. Open Tennis Final Showdown With Medvedev By Beating Berrettini In Semis

By Ricky Dimon

It may not be be a Grand Slam final between two all-time greats like we saw at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon earlier in the season, but in a way the U.S. Open final matchup is an appropriate one.

It pits this summer’s two best hard-court players against each other; the Montreal champion vs. the Cincinnati champion. It’s Rafael Nadal vs. Daniil Medvedev following their respective semifinal victories on Friday evening.

After Medvedev defeated Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, Nadal took care off Matteo Berrettini–another surprising semifinalist–7-6(6), 6-4, 6-1 in the nightcap. The world No. 2 put himself within one win of a fourth title in New York by prevailing in two hours and 35 minutes.

“Now is a moment to enjoy today,” Nadal noted. “But (there) is a match in front on Sunday; an important one. I just focus on [trying] to be 100 percent ready for it. But, of course, (I’m) very, very happy for everything. Another final of the Grand Slam, and another final here in Flushing Meadows means a lot to me.”

Berrettini’s first major final will have to wait, but the best tournament of his career did not end without a fight. The 25th-ranked Italian led 4-0 in the first-set tiebreaker and also had a 6-4 advantage only to squander both set points. From there it was just about over for Berrettini.

“Winning the first set would have meant I think a lot,” Berrettini assessed. “Especially with him it’s tough to go a set down after an hour– more than an hour. But I was feeling I was playing really good, even though he had a lot of chances on my serve. I think I played also good (on the) important points. I mean, I was brave.

“I couldn’t say anything bad. I cannot complain about what I did. I was playing with Rafa, center court, in semis. I think it’s okay.”

Now it’s Nadal vs. Medvedev in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday.

“He’s one of the greatest champions in the history of our sport,” the 23-year-old Russian praised. “He’s just a machine; a beast on the court. The energy he’s showing is just amazing. To play him in your first Grand Slam final should be, I want to say, a funny thing. It’s not going to be a funny thing, but it’s going to be an amazing thing to live.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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